Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Privacy and Public Access to Court Records Conference to be Held

According to their release "(o)n Thursday and Friday, March 22nd and 23rd, 2007, with the assistance of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Center for Legal and Court Technology (formerly the Courtroom 21 Project) will host the Fifth Conference on Privacy and Public Access to Court Records in Williamsburg, Virginia."

The release invites interested parties to attend "the Conference, which will bring together policy makers from the state and federal courts, judges, law professors, access and privacy advocates, and others involved in efforts to develop policies on public access to court records."

In Memory of John Doktor

We are pleased to announce that the attendees at the recent E-Courts Conference donated $743 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of John Doktor. John was director of the Integrated Justice System project in Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona and a long time contributor in advancing court technology. He will be missed.

Monday, December 18, 2006

US Federal Courts Report on Technology

The November, 2006 issue of The Third Branch newsletter published by the US Federal Courts is chock full of articles regarding technology use in their system. Articles include:

E-Courts Presentations Now Online

Over 600 persons attended the most successful E-Courts Conference to date in Las Vegas last week. The presentations that we have received to date are posted at the E-Courts 2006 Presentations web page.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

West Virginia Courts Start CMS Project

An article in the West Virginia Record newspaper highlights the new court case management system project for the West Virginia Courts. The Unified Judicial Application will be rolled out over a four year period and will use the state's existing T-1 network as its backbone.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Ohio Supreme Court Announces Imaging and RSS technology

The Supreme Court of Ohio announced on November 30, 2006 that as of December 1st, all case documents filed on and after that date will be available online soon after filing. In addition, the Court also announced a new Case Activity Notification Service using RSS technology. The service will make it easier for interested parties to track developments in cases pending before the Supreme Court.

Monday, November 27, 2006

US Federal Court E-Filing Rules

Attorney Howard J. Bashman, in his regular column for Law.com, discusses new rules for unpublished citations and appellate court E-filing in his article "What Do the Federal Appellate Procedure Rule Changes Mean for You?" (12/2010 update: please note that access to this article requires a subscription to Law.com)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Ohio Courts Technology Survey Released

The Supreme Court of Ohio has recently released a summary of their latest technology survey. Highlights include finding that nearly all courts have Internet access and approximately half have some kind of document imaging technology installed.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Drug Court Online Training Event

"Drug Courts Reexamined," is a free online event November 13, 2006 2:00–4:00 pm (eastern time)
  • Michael Rempel, Research Director at the Center for Court Innovation.
  • Peter F. Luongo, Ph.D., Director of the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration.
  • Judge Terry D. Terrell, First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
  • Moderated by Thomas J. Charron, Executive Director of the National District Attorneys Association.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

US Sentencing Comission Electronic Reporting

In its Fall 2006 Guidelines Newsletter the US Federal Sentencing Commission notes that 70 Federal District Courts are "submitting their case files electronically." The case files include "the five required documents (i.e., judgment and commitment order, statement of reasons form, any plea agreement, the charging document, and the presentence report)" using PDF format.
(Author's note: Now if we can just get them to use the GJXDM. For more information about XML-based charge and sentencing reporting see our National Standards web page )

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Great Domestic Court Judge's Website in Ohio

We have recently become aware of Judge Mike Voris' web site for the Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Division, in Clermont County, Batavia, Ohio: http://www.domesticcourt.org/
He features a lot of court forms, a streaming video interview as well as other information to help litigants navigate their way through the judicial system. Well done!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ohio Supreme Court Announces Effort to Build Statewide Network Connecting Courts

State of Ohio Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer recently announced in his State of the Judiciary Address that a plan to build a statewide network connecting courts throughout the state to share information with each other and law enforcement partners is moving forward.

Links to Supreme Courts Around the World

Our good friend Judge Stein Schjolberg from Norway has build a very handy new website, Global Courts, that provides links to national Supreme Court decisions from around the world.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

XML Documents - Why Should I Care?

I can summarize the answer to the above titled question in one word - control. For as long as court case management systems have existed, there has been a continual struggle between the need for more data to be added and the time it takes for a programmer and database administrator to add it to the system. XML documents can give court staff an additional tool to add and control their own data collection instruments, just like they could in the "paper world." Now there are currently significant issues as to whether the court case management system being used in a particular court can store or link to documents. But once that is in place, and there is an upgrade to new XML-enabled databases, court staff will be able to use documents as an integral part of their system. Mr. Ronald Bourret has written a general tutorial about XML and Databases that may be of help in explaining this concept further. In addition, there are a few InfoWorld articles on Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2 databases that, while rather technical, can provide addition illumination of the new database capabilities and hence, new thinking that needs to be applied to our situation in the courts.

Next time - Using Search to Count

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Self-Docketing Smart Documents

I've been spending time in Orlando, Florida recently and I had the privilege of meeting with Ms. Carolyn Weber who is their E-filing (ECF) project manager. Carolyn has a great example of smart documents on the Orange County Clerk of Court ECF project website. Their system currently supports three documents, the Certificate of Service, Summons, and most important the Case Initiation Worksheet, that can be downloaded, completed and when submitted to the E-filing system, saves a considerable amount of time in completing the filing. If you have a chance, I recommend downloading the Case Initiation Worksheet and then right-click on the "gray boxes" to see how they have coded the field names for later "parsing" into their case management system. I think that this is a good example of progressive thinking because it advances toward the goal of single source data capture which also makes it more accurate.
Next week - XML in word processing and why should you care?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Clark County Regional Justice Center Adds WiFi Access

A press release from Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas) shares information regarding their new wireless network system.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Agile Software Development

I just finished reading the September 2006 digital edition of "Dr. Dobb's Journal". I was intrigued by Scott Ambler's article "Survey Says: Agile Works in Practice". We haven't seen many court IT organizations adopting agile development methodologies, but such methods and techniques are certainly making headway in other industries. Of particular interest are the survey results presented in Scott's article showing increased productivity, system quality and stakeholder satisfaction in projects using agile approaches

Thursday, August 3, 2006

How Smart Can We Make the Documents?

I have written about this before, but lately, after working with several case management systems I have become more and more convinced that court technologists are still missing the point that the data is in the document. Almost everything that a court does either involves receiving a document or producing a document. The smarter that we make documents, by "tagging" the information via templates and forms, the less data entry is needed because either the document becomes the database or the data is automatically parsed and entered into the court's database.

On the input side, courts have done an excellent job of posting their forms in editable formats and PDF. But very few have "connected the dots" by using these forms as data sources in their E-filing projects. I find that it is particularly interesting that progress in this area is being made in the integrated justice projects with GJXDM technology rather than in civil case E-filing. For example, at CTC8, Orange County, Florida Integrated Justice System project showed their automated criminal complaint systems and at the upcoming E-Courts Conference this December, the Maricopa County, Arizona Integrated Justice System will be showing their electronic warrant system.

Further, most court automation seem to still treat court generated documents as reports or as separate standalone systems. When a court creates a document using word processing software, it should not simply be printed on paper. It should also be stored electronically and linked to the case management system. There are many ways that this can be done and I'll write about a few of them next week.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 6, 2006

A Lawyer's View of Appellate Technology

Mr. Howard Bashman of Law.com shares his experiences on video and teleconferencing in his article, Commentary: Predicting Technology's Impact on Appellate Oral Argument. He also muses about the use of collaboration software in Appellate Court proceedings.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Federal Courts E-Government Act Compliance

In an article in the US Federal Court's newsletter, "The Third Branch", they reported that the judiciaries compliance with the "E-Government Act of 2002" was nearly total. The article explains that the US Congress passed the E-Government Act in order to improve customer service to citizens via the Internet. The article further notes that nearly 200 Federal Courts have their own websites, and that many are not only in compliance but exceed the type and amount of information required.

Electronic Case Filing Program Kicks Off At Orange County Clerk's Office

Thanks to Leesa Bainbridge of the Orange County, Florida Clerk of Circuit Court office for the following article.
Orange County Clerk of Courts Lydia Gardner is pleased to announce that Ed Foster of Akerman, Senterfitt and Edison became the first attorney to electronically file a case under our new Electronic Case Filing system.
The Complex Business Litigation case was filed April 5, 2006, in the Civil Division under the direction of Program Manager Carolyn Weber.
"We are thrilled to get our first case just 14 months after we began laying the groundwork for the project", Gardner said. "E-commerce is the future and we plan to stay on the cutting edge of that universe."
Gardner also praised the leadership of Weber, whose experience developing an Electronic Case Filing system in the federal courts was invaluable as she began creating the program for the Orange County Clerk of Courts.
Electronic Case Filing - or ECF - is one of the most significant innovations ever implemented at the Clerk's Office. The E-filing plan was approved by the Supreme Court for Complex Business Litigation in February 2005. As required by the Supreme Court, our operation begins with a pilot program involving a limited number of law firms. In time, that program will expand significantly.
The Orange County Clerk of Courts is the first among large counties to begin rolling out an ECF program.
ECF allows attorneys to electronically file new cases and subsequent pleadings 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere they have Internet access. It allows for 24-hour access to those files, which are secured by a password. It means faster document retrieval, savings on courier and postage fees, fewer visits to the Clerk's Office and reduced use of paper. Attorneys are alerted to any case activity through automatic emails.
There are 50 attorneys registered in ECF with 157 documents electronically filed. We have two pro se tenant eviction cases as part of our pilot phase. The advantages to attorneys, clients and Orange County will only expand as the program grows.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Promise and Challenges of Jury System Technology

The 2003 book "The Promise and Challenges of Jury System Technology" by Tom Munsterman and Paula Hannaford-Agor is now available online from the National Center for State Courts website. This publication supported by a grant from the State Justice Institute explores issues such as the policy implication of jury management technologies, usage of source lists, qualification and summoning, and service and post-service technologies.

Maricopa County (Phoenix, Arizona) Sends News

Thanks to Katherine Johnson of the Maricopa County Integrated Justice System project in Phoenix, Arizona for sending along their most recent newsletter. Highlights from the newsletter are:

Electronic Filing of Criminal Case Data - Criminal case filing data is being passed electronically from the County Attorney's Office to the Clerk of the Superior Court eliminating the manual data entry and the potential for data entry errors. Once accepted by the Superior Court, copies of the criminal case data are available for other justice agencies to receive. The Public Defender will be the first additional agency to receive this electronic data before the end of this fiscal year.

Electronic Filing of Subsequent Criminal Case Documents - Subsequent criminal case documents such as motions are being transmitted electronically from the County Attorney's Office to the Clerk of the Superior Court and are distributed to the correct parties via the Clerk of Court's eService system.

JWI (Justice Web Interface) - MCAO, Adult Probation - The cutover for Justice Web Interface (JWI), which replaced the Department of Public Safety (DPS) system access, to the County Attorney's Office (MCAO) and Adult Probation (APD) was completed in October 2005.

Form IV A - Initial Appearance - In addition to a regular Form IV, a Form IV-A has to be completed when an arrestee is arrested on a warrant from another jurisdiction. The form has a check box to indicate whether the arrest is a Fugitive of Justice arrest, as well as a section for the arresting officer to describe how the individual was identified as the subject of the warrant. Both the Form IV and the Form IV A would be completed and sent to IA and MCAO.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Increasing Public Access to Court Rules - Moving from Good to Great

Submitted by Cari Gerchick, Esq., Communications Director, Arizona Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts

Submitting changes or comments to Arizona's court rules, which apply in all state courts, has just gotten easier. The Arizona Supreme Court now accepts electronic filing of rule petitions and rule comments at the "Rules EForum." The Rules E-Forum is a website created by the Arizona Supreme Court that allows the public to monitor all pending rules petitions and comments.

"Allowing electronic filing of rule petitions and rule comments saves time and money for members of the legal and non-legal communities who wish to be a part of the rule change process," said Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor. 

"We're excited about our ability to offer easier access for all interested parties, in another step to move our courts from good to great."

To submit, comment on, or view a rule change petition, please visit www.supreme.state.az.us/rules/ and register.
The public may still submit rule change petitions and comments in the traditional, paper method with the Clerk of the Supreme Court located at 1501 West Washington, Fourth Floor, Phoenix, Arizona 85007. For instructions, please visit: www.supreme.state.az.us/clerk. These documents will appear on the electronic

For more information about the Arizona Supreme Court's Rules E-Forum, visit: www.supreme.state.az.us/rules/ and click on Frequently Asked Questions.

Michigan Implements Statewide Drug Court Case Management System

Submitted by: Nial Raaen, Director of Trial Court Services, Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) announces the release of its statewide web-based drug court case information system (DCCMIS). The DCCMIS is designed to support drug court case management and the collection and analysis of drug court data. The DCCMIS project began in late 2003 when SCAO requested technical assistance from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to recommend an approach to improve drug court automation in the state. NCSC further assisted with the preparation of a request for proposal (RFP) to develop a drug court case management system for statewide implementation. Five focus group meetings were held with drug court users and key stakeholders to refine RFP requirements. An advisory committee of drug court users was convened to review vendor proposals and evaluate system demonstrations. Following a review of ten proposals, the advisory committee recommended that the contract be awarded to Advanced Computer Technologies (ACT) of Montgomery, Alabama.

Development of the DCCMIS software application commenced in January 2005 with site visits to observe court processes and define user requirements in local trial and tribal courts. A users' focus group was then convened to review the design of vendor's current drug court software and identify changes needed to incorporate requirements unique to Michigan. SCAO drug court staff also led a data standards committee to identify required data elements for drug court evaluation. The alpha-version DCCMIS application was then presented to more than 50 users during software testing sessions conducted at the Michigan Hall of Justice in late summer 2005. Final testing of the system was completed at selected beta sites.

The on-going costs of system hosting and maintenance are covered by SCAO. The only cost to local drug courts will be for high speed internet connection and upgrades to PC software and hardware, if needed. All courts that receive state funding through the Michigan Drug Court Grant Program will use the system as a condition of their funding beginning in fiscal year 2007. Other drug courts are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

System training starts with a brief site visit to assess each court's readiness for implementation. Courts are responsible for ensuring that they meet necessary hardware and software requirements. Training begins with a regional session for groups of court users, followed by live training at each court site. The SCAO training team is large enough to allow concurrent deployment of the system at several sites. Training and implementation was completed at 54 drug courts within five months of system release. Help desk services and an online users' manual are provided by the vendor, along with on-going support and training from SCAO.

The DCCMIS analysis component will provide users the ability to conduct descriptive and comparative bi-variant analysis of their data without the need to export data into other statistical programs. The system will allow users to select out subgroups of clients using any combination of the variables collected in the system, and provide the analytic tools to describe the frequency, percent, mean, standard deviation, and range of each subgroup. Differences between subgroup characteristics and recidivism can be tested. This will provide managers quick access to information and measurable program performance to assist with strategic planning and administrative decision making.

Funding for the DCCMIS has been provided in part by grants from the Michigan Office of Drug Control Policy and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. For questions regarding our project contact Ms. Emily Taylor in the SCAO Drug Court Programs Office at (517) 373-7351 or TaylorE@courts.mi.gov.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Setting Up Multiple Monitors From One PC

Being the techno wizards that we are here at the NCSC, we of course are always trying to figure out a way to buy more technology. The other day we were looking into the ways that we could setup multiple video monitors from one PC or laptop and found this article on Microsoft's website that provides a good starting point for investigation. For several years we have recommended that courts look at multiple smaller monitors for their courtroom bench in order to both increase screen space while maintaining sight lines.

US Supreme Court Approves New Electronic Discovery Rules

Thanks to Michael Arkfeld for this note:

On April 12, 2006 the United States Supreme Court approved the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules concern the discovery of "electronically stored information" (ESI). These rule changes affect Rules 16, 26, 33, 34, 37, 45 and Form 35.

The rules have been sent to Congress and will become effective on December 1, 2006 unless Congress acts to change or defer the amendments. The amendments are available on the United States Court's web site.

Friday, April 7, 2006

National Governors Association Awards Grants

Federal Computer Week magazine has noted that the National Governors Association has awarded five $50,000 grants to the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, New York and North Carolina to implement GJXDM based data sharing projects.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Web-Based Domestic Violence Protection System is Running in Florida

Dan Zinn, CIO in the Office of the State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach, Florida sends us the following description of their new web-based domestic violence protection system:

The Domestic Violence Information System (DVIS) is a web-enabled application designed to provide a centralized source for information about victims and defendants involved in domestic violence. The purpose of the project is to facilitate more effective interventions for battered women and their children. The project objectives are to: (1) Enhance court processes. (2) Protect and provide services to persons at risk for domestic violence. (3) To collect and share information between criminal justice and social service agencies.

The DVIS project started July 2001 when the State Attorney applied for and received a grant to develop a system of information sharing for the courts. The State Attorney's Office (SAO) took a leadership role in identifying the Stakeholders, business requirements and then led the development of the application. The following stakeholders participated in the development of DVIS: 
  • Eleven (11) Batters Intervention Programs (BIPS)
  • Florida Department of Children and Families
  • Florida Department of Corrections
  • Palm Beach District Schools
  • Palm Beach District Courts (15th Judicial Circuit)
  • Palm Beach County Probation (Pride)
  • Palm Beach County Public Safety Victim Services.
  • Shelters
  • State Attorney's Office (15th Judicial Circuit)
The information gathered from the meetings formed the scope of work and defined the architecture for the database. International Standards Organization (ISO) quality management principles were and are continuously used throughout the development process.

A major problem identified during the process was the high level of paper generated and the duplication of effort required. DVIS was designed to eliminate duplicate efforts and to provide a central point of information sharing. Where paper documents were required, DVIS provides the ability to print out forms directly from the database. Revisiting and reengineering several manual processes also eliminated the need for paper all together. In a typical case DVIS eliminates 144 manual processes previously required.

DVIS uses the information from STAC (see the March/April 2003 Court Technology Bulletin) to update the database. This approach eliminates multiple entry of information. Ten other circuits in Florida use STAC, in the future, DVIS can be implemented in other circuits without additional programming costs. Currently DVIS has 300+ users. DVIS is a .Net application that can connect to any SQL database. The application was developed using federal funds and is available to criminal justice agencies.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hi-Tech Nuclear Regulatory Commission Courtroom Noted

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission was recognized in eWeek Magazine for their hi-tech courtroom that will be hosting the Yucca Mountain licensing case in Nevada. The article notes that more than 300,000 documents are available electronically as well as extensive video conferencing capabilities.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Friday, March 17, 2006

Future Trends - RFID Technology

Last year former NCSC'er, Doug Walker wrote a Future Trends article on Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID) and the courts. RFID technology has been receiving quite a bit of press in recent months due to a huge initiative by the WalMart Corporation. Even if your court converts to electronic documents and e-filing in the near future, RFID will be a very useful technology for tracking and improving security for staff, detainees, and evidence.

Alabama AOC Intoduces AlaFile

Chief Justice Drayton Nabers, Jr. recently introduced via direct webcast the new statewide AlaFile(tm) electronic court document filing system to Alabama Attorneys. The new system will initially focus on the nearly 200,000 civil filings submitted each year in the state. The project website lays out an agressive implementation schedule and provides information on the court rules, electronic procedures, a FAQ, and a feedback form. (Please note that is best to view these websites using Microsoft Internet Explorer.)

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

One Judge's Experience with his Tablet PC by O. John Kuenhold

O. John Kuenhold is the Chief Judge in the 12th District of Colorado. He was appointed as a District Court Judge in 1981. Judge Kuenhold received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1969, the same year he was admitted to the Colorado Bar. From offices in Alamosa County, Kuenhold sits in all six counties that comprise the 12th Judicial District, hearing appeals form county court and cases arising under criminal, civil, juvenile, domestic relations, and mental health law. He recently shared some of his experiences with the Tablet PC with me and I received permission from him to pass them along.

All the district judges in Colorado now have Tablet convertible PCs running on XP with Office 2003 and OneNote. My experience with a tablet PC is similar to the NCSC Technology group. At first I was greatly enamored with the handwriting ability (You can really "sign" orders in Word to send to e-filing) but have found that I use it the Tablet PC convertible more as a conventional laptop. I have had some carpal tunnel problems from overuse of the mouse. With the Tablet PC one can review e-mails and delete messages with the pen. It actually saves time and is also kind to the wrist. In Colorado, our Tablet PCs come with a program called Microsoft OneNote which can be used on any XP based computer. 

One Note takes good advantage of the handwriting and drawing features of the Tablet PC ability, but the program has other more impressive features as well. It allows a tab-based organization of complex related materials. For example, I create an electronic One Note folder for each trial witrh subfolders for each side's witnesses and a folder for pleadings and another for research. I create a "page" for each witness. These tabs sit to the right side of the screen so you can jump back and forth. One can also import other documents as a picture on the OneNote page with links back to the original document. So if I have found a case on Westlaw that I wish to refer back to, I import the case and it becomes a tabbed page. Similarly, I was the official secretary at our last chief judge's meeting. During the meeting there were references to all kinds of documents that had been emailed to us before the meeting. I had imported all the documents as pages into OneNote so they were tabbed in the folder. When I finished my minutes, I sent them out to the other chiefs, administrators and the Chief Justice as a One Note file. They could then read the minutes and, with one click go to the document that the minutes refer to. No more trying to find that email from three weeks ago!

Friday, March 3, 2006

Georgia Courts Applying BI Technology

Jorge Basto, Director of Technology for the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts was the subject of a recent ComputerWorld magazine article titled: Central Intelligence: Large organizations are moving to consolidated BI suites; (w)hy many large organizations are moving to consolidated business intelligence suites. In the article he notes that their goal is to implement this technology by the end of the year. And, that by implementing business intelligence technology "he believes the benefits of consolidating court reporting and analysis applications will be substantial: 'There are seven levels of courts, numerous court-related agencies and offices, as well as several executive and legislative agencies that could use this information.'"

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Federal Court Visiting Judges Helped by Electronic Files

The US Federal Court newsletter, "The Third Branch" has published an article titled Visiting Judges Take Their Work On The Road in which it notes:

"Courts that don't use visiting judges usually cite a lack of clerical support and/or space. However, the use of Case Management/Electronic Case Files in the district courts has made it even easier for visiting judges in terms of handling paperwork. And with CM/ECF, a visiting judge may not have to travel to a court to offer assistance."

So there's another reason for state courts to break the addiction to paper.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Washington Technology Magazine Recognizes XML Work

Washington Technology Magazine recently published an article titled "Integrators Woo Criminal Justice Work" that highlights several GJXDM based projects. The article also mentions several jurisdictions and companies that are involved in creating these systems.

Monday, February 20, 2006

E-Courts 2006 Conference Website is Online

The E-Courts 2006 conference website is now available. The fifth edition of the E-Courts conference will be held from December 11-13, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year's focus will be on organizational transformation that we call "Digital Opportunity" as well as cool new technology. This is the one court technology event that you will not want to miss this year.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Michigan's Electronic Statistical Reporting System

While doing some research recently we found that the Michigan AOC has implemented an electronic statistical report submission system. We contacted them and received the following excellent article from Ms. Laura Hutzel, Research and Policy Analyst, Michigan Supreme Court,
State Court Administrative Office:

Michigan trial courts use a web-based application, the Caseload Reporting System (CRS), to report caseload data to the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). This secure application assists courts with caseload reporting and provides standard output reports.

Trial courts are required to submit a wealth of caseload data to SCAO. The courts report the number of cases pending at the beginning of the year, the number of new filings each quarter, the number of reopened cases each quarter, and the number of cases disposed by different methods each quarter. 

These figures are reported for every case type. In addition, circuit courts submit juvenile case statistics, the number of juveniles under supervision, child protective statistics, and the number of children who are court wards. Probate courts also submit the number of people with guardians and conservators, the number of active estates and trusts, and the number of second or continuing petitions for mental commitments. Each trial judge is required to submit annual disposed case age and pending case age reports through CRS. Based on the reported data, CRS calculates the number of cases pending at the end of each quarter.

CRS contains many features to assist courts with reporting caseload data. Using SCAO-issued usernames and passwords, authorized court employees can access CRS. The chief judge or court administrator can use CRS to electronically add or remove authorization for their employees. In the secure environment, authorized employees can electronically upload or manually enter caseload data. They can also view reports that identify missing, incomplete, or inconsistent data. Using CRS, users can e-mail a question to the Help Desk, read a list of frequently asked questions and answers, or download the reporting manuals and instructions. SCAO employees can use CRS to send reminder e-mail messages to courts that have not yet submitted or verified their caseload data. Chief judges log in to CRS and verify when the annual data for their courts is ready for publication. Upon receiving the chief judge's verification, CRS automatically sends a confirmation e-mail to the chief judge.
CRS contains eleven different output reports of the reported caseload data. Throughout the year, authorized users can obtain a summary report that consolidates caseload data into general categories, such as civil, criminal, and domestic relations. They can also obtain a full detail report which lists each case type. Summary and detail reports for all state trial courts are compiled for the Michigan Supreme 

Court's Annual Report and posted on the public website at:

Case age reports are under development and will show the extent to which each judge met recommended time guidelines.

Indiana Releases Case Management System PNCO

On February 13, 2006, the Indiana Supreme Court published a Public Notice of Contracting Opportunities (PNCO) seeking proposals which would provide Indiana courts and clerks with a 21st Century Case Management System (CMS).

Monday, February 6, 2006

North Dakota Courts Website Supports PDAs

Ms. Anne Skove of our NCSC Knowledge and Information Services group spotted the North Dakota Court's website that allows downloads to Personal Digital Assistants, also known as PDAs. A PDA is often referred to as a Palm, Treo, or Pocket PC. North Dakota allows downloads of information from the Supreme Court Home Page, Supreme Court Opinions, Supreme Court Calendar and Briefs, and Lawyer Directory.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Courtroom Technology Listing

Here's a "quick to implement" idea. The Federal District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico has posted a description of the various audio, visual, and computer technology that is available in their courtrooms. The quick reference grid is very easy to understand. Great idea!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Scott Fairholm Takes Policy Assignment

Scott Fairholm has taken on a new assignment as National Technology Policy Advisor with the National Center for State Courts. He will be focusing on national court technology policy issues including federal information sharing standards, coordination with Global and NIEM related activities and the development of a justice reference service oriented architecture.

A New Year for NCSC Technology

We are pleased to announce several new faces and changes in responsibilities for technology activities within the NCSC, all aimed at enhancing services to the court community while simultaneously bolstering the voice of courts in federal justice information technology initiatives.
Terrie Bousquin of Santa Fe, New Mexico joined as Director of Technology Services on January 1st. Terrie comes to the Center from four years as a partner and co-owner of Greacen Associates, LLC, following six years as the judiciary CIO for New Mexico.
Jim Harris of Orlando, Florida, joined as Senior Court Technology Associate. Jim has most recently been serving as a technical advisor for the Orange County Clerk of Courts in Orlando, Florida. He was previously Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Court Specialists, Inc., a court case management product vendor.
Shirley Sutherland began as the Administrative Manager for Technology Services in late 2005.
Tom Carlson was promoted to Court Technology Associate and among other things serves as the primary technical representative from the court community on the XML Structure Task Force (XSTF) for the GJXDM as well as on the NIEM Technical Architecture Group (NTAG). Tom was responsible for developing the Wayfarer tool for navigating the GJXDM. It is currently available on the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) website and on the NCSC website.
Technology Services has responsibility for analyses, recommendations, and support to the major national court technology groups and policy bodies, including the Joint Technology Committee (JTC), the Chief Information Technology Officers' Consortium (CITOC), COSCA, and NACM. Through its work with national and international courts, justice partners, and other NCSC divisions, Technology Services identifies, synthesizes, models, and tests court technology and associated business process, data, design, and implementation alternatives with potential applicability to the wider court community. Technology Services is the primary NCSC resource for creating and vetting XML solutions for court information sharing and for court technology standards development, implementation, and information dissemination. Technology Services presents major national technology educational and conference opportunities for courts and provides Help Desk assistance for GJXDM related questions from courts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tablet PCs Invade NCSC Technology Division

Like the old movie The Blob, a new type of computer has taken over our group here at the NCSC; the Tablet PC. Every technology professional in our group now uses either a convertible or slate style Tablet PC. For those of you who don't know, a convertible Tablet PC is similar to a laptop except that there is a hinge that let's one flip the screen around to lay flat across the keyboard. Our group currently has Tablet PCs from IBM (Lenovo), Toshiba, HP, and Fujitsu.
Some of the advantages to this format of computer that we have already found are first, one can use the computer on cramped airline seats. By flipping the screen ( Toshiba currently has a short commercial on their website that shows the flip ) one can use the pen to read, write, and work with applications like e-mail. A second advantage is that the convertible Tablet PC is a full featured laptop. So when I am in the office, I can use it with the keyboard and mouse as I am doing now to write this article. A third advantage is the ability to use the pen to take and save handwritten notes. I have Microsoft OneNote 2003 installed on my Tablet PC and one nice feature is continual file saving. When I write a note, it is automatically saved on the machine's hard drive; no more, click file, click save. Further, we recently saw Colorado Courts CIO, Bob Roper's Tablet PC where he has their entire judicial Bench Book organized in OneNote. We are planning to have Bob and a couple of Colorado Judges demonstrate their systems in December at the E-Courts 2006 Conference. Finally, we have found that the handwriting recognition is very good. Interestingly, for me it seems is more accurate in deciphering my left-hand cursive handwriting versus writing in block letters. And, OneNote lets me be able to search my handwritten notes even if they haven't been converted to text. In general the Technology group is just now learning what we can do with our machines; but from our first impressions, we are happy with out acquisitions. For a good website that collects user's impressions on the hardware, software, and accessories related to Tablet PC's see the Tablet PC Buzz website.